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25 years of volunteering for Chris

Chris Spence volunteer 25 years
Chris Spence has nurtured her love of local history over her 25 years serving as a volunteer at the Bundaberg and District Historical Museum. Photo: Morgan Everett

Visitors to the Bundaberg and District Historical Museum will be missing a familiar face as dedicated volunteer Chris Spence retires from 25 years as part of the team.

Chris said she first became aware of the opportunity in 1998 when she saw an article asking for volunteers to come and help at the facility.

“Reading the article, it said that if the historical museum did not get some more volunteers to assist in keeping their doors open, they would have to close some days and not be able to open seven days a week,” Chris said.

“This caught my attention, so I went over to meet with the volunteers and started the following weekend volunteering firstly on Saturdays then Sundays also each week.”

Chris said she enjoyed being in the company of people who were dedicated to preserving the history of the region and the working friendship they all had with the other attractions in the Botanic Gardens as well.

“People have a lot of life experiences that we can all share and learn from,” she said.

“The enjoyment in being able to assist someone with their research, or sharing with them any other sources that may be able to answer their questions, instead of just saying ‘no we can’t assist you', always goes a long way with people.”

She remembers a particular highlight being when they were contacted by the descendants of former Bundaberg Mayor John Lamb.

“The elderly great granddaughter travelled through from Melbourne to present the historical museum with the walking cane that was presented to John by the citizens of Bundaberg,” Chris said.

“This cane is on display in the museum and has an inscription on it from when it was presented to him.”

Something for everyone

Christine said, thanks to the foresight and hard work of past members and volunteers, there was an amazing selection of displays at the museum with recent donations complimenting the collection.

“Really there is something of interest for everyone,” she said.

“Displays such as the world quilt, the Lucke quads pram, the Spitfire scroll, the Indigenous artefacts from the Paradise Dam site, the taxidermy birds to name a few interesting, rare artefacts that are displayed.”

The museum currently has six volunteers working with volunteer coordinator Kimberly Cotten and Chris had some simple advice for anyone considering a volunteering role.

“Do it,” she said.

“I have made many friends, including industry contacts, throughout my time there and appreciate each one of them.

“I always suggest anyone interested in volunteering in the historical museum, come over, meet the coordinator and find out the many facets of volunteering at the museum.

“There is a lot going on behind the scenes the volunteers have a very important role in preserving the local history for present and future generations.”

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